GSA Network Blog

#BlackFutureLegends: Paving the way

Deonte' Lee is a 17-year-old high school student from California and board member of GSA Network, a national youth empowerment organization. This piece is part of our #BlackFutureLegends Month series of writings, images, and videos drawing inspiration from the past to fight for our future.
Activist, poet, and filmmaker: Mr. Marlon Riggs, the physical embodiment of my desires for my future. Mr. Marlon Riggs, the talented and provocative individual, the one who is gay and African American. 
Mr. Marlon Riggs: my activist inspiration.
This February Black LGBTQ youth and GSA leaders like me, inspired by the #blacklivesmatter movement and #blackfuturemonth, are celebrating our full selves, our full history, and our full visions for justice. On February 20th, we held actions across the country for GSA Day for Racial Justice. We are #BlackFutureLegends, and we are drawing inspiration from the past to fight for our future.
Before I found Riggs, I spent endless hours searching for meaningful movies containing both Black and gay content, devoid of the lackluster plots and the horribly overdone use of sex and the "quintessential" gay eye candy. When I saw Riggs’ documentary, "Tongues Untied," I shed tears over how perfectly it captured my emotions and thoughts, and its ability to combine my two worlds of being both Black and gay. In the documentary Riggs talks about his social ostracism in his youth because of his intelligence, his race, and sexuality, which resonates with my experience as one of five Black kids in AP classes and an out leader on my campus. I found my aspirations in Riggs, who went to Harvard, played with controversial topics and played with them well, and made work that was true to himself and all of himself. 
I aspire to find myself as Riggs did, enjoy life, and try to make my mark upon the world in a way that stays true to and exudes all aspects of my personality. Already working towards this goal I have been the Executive President of my school’s associated student body for 3 years, have founded the Black Student Union on campus, serve as a board director on the national youth empowerment organization GSA Network, started a mentor program for prospective freshman, and live my life in confidence. 
As a Black Future Legend, I hope to contribute to my communities and pave the way for more #BlackFutureLegends to thrive.

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